By Bernard Jaffe
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Extra info for Crucibles: The Story of Chemistry - From Ancient Alchemy to Nuclear Fission
Giovanni Beccaria, an Italian, had passed some electric sparks through water, and had noticed a gas issuing from the water. But he missed discovering a great truth. Cavendish, the acute, saw something significant behind this ingenious experiment. He read on. The year which marked the beginning of the American Revolution witnessed an experiment by an Englishman, John Warltire. This natural who helped Priestley in the discovery was trying to determine whether heat had weight a closed three-pint copper flask, weighing about a mixed some common air and hydrogen, and set fire ture by means of an electric spark.
Some part of the fame -which is Priestley's was due to the public brewery which adjoined his home here in Leeds. In this smelly factory he busied himself in his spare moments, experimenting with the gas which bubbles off in the huge vats during the process of beer-making. He lighted chips of wood and brought them near these bubbles of colorless gas as they burst over the fermenting beer. It was a queer business for a minister, and the factory hands shook their heads as they watched him bending over the bubbling cisterns that hot midsummer.
This same Cavendish was later murdered for revenge, because his son was accused of slaying Wat Tyler, leader of an insur- INdish to the exalted office of Lord Chief Justice of the rection. Two centuries later the name of Cavendish was again by the noted freebooter Thomas Cavendish, the second Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. On October 10, 1731, at Nice, a son was born to Lady Anne Cavendish, who had gone to France in search of health. This Cavendish was not destined to wield power in public life, as his parents had hoped.
Crucibles: The Story of Chemistry - From Ancient Alchemy to Nuclear Fission by Bernard Jaffe